As you would probably expect – given the conclusion of Arsenal’s season last weekend – there is an absolute flood of transfer speculation coming from the press at the moment. I’ve summarised the lot and listed them here for your benefit. The things I do.
- Samir Nasri – The 20-year-old Marseille attacker continues to be linked strongly to a move to Arsenal. The Frenchman commented that the goal he scored against Strasbourg in the last round of Ligue 1 fixtures might be his last for Marseille while his club have suggested that he could be on his way out for £12-14 million. If Wenger wants him I think he’ll get him, so I think it’s worth watching this space.
- Niko Kranjcar – Shortly after winning the FA Cup this week the Croatian midfielder reiterated his contentment with life at Portsmouth. It’s a little bit of a setback but given his admission that he would still be tempted by an offer from a big club I think he would still move to Arsenal if the manager wants to sign him.
- Roque Santa Cruz – The Times Online have suggested that if Emmanuel Adebayor leaves for Barcelona in the Summer then Blackburn’s Paraguayan striker will be at the top of Arsenal’s list in terms of a replacement. However, given that Adebayor has continually rubbished the claims about a move to Spain and there are no quotes to back up the story I think we can pretty much mark this down as a load of tosh.
When you add the rising speculation about Nasri’s move to the likely transfer of Lyon’s Hatem Ben Arfa it appears that things are going well for the manager and the club at the moment. From a positional perspective Nasri could be rotated with Alexandr Hleb – should he remain at the club – in the hole while Ben Arfa would allow the injury-prone Tomas Rosicky to be rotated in a similar manner on the left. And for those who think that the returning Carlos Vela will compete for a spot on the left can think again after the admission from the manager that he will be used primarily as a striker next season.
“He has played the whole season at Osasuna on the left wing and he had to work hard there. But for me it is not his position – he is a central striker, an Eduardo type.”
While Osasuna have used him as a left winger this season this really shouldn’t come as any surprise – after all the Mexican was signed after top-scoring for his country in the 2005 U17 World Cup. He was brought to Arsenal as a striker and I’m personally happy to see that Wenger wants to use him as one.
Should Nasri and Ben Arfa sign then all Arsenal require is a defensive midfielder to cover the loss of Mathieu Flamini (who will be playing UEFA Cup football next season after Fiorentina nabbed the final Champions League spot) and a strong central defender like Christoph Metzelder. Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but I really think the German would fit nicely. Either way, Wenger seems in complete control at the moment and I feel Arsenal fans will be able to look towards next season with optimism.
In other news, Gael Clichy has been left out of France’s squad for Euro 2008. It’s a harsh exclusion for a player who has had a great couple of seasons and quite simply deserves to be there. Interestingly, William Gallas is the only Arsenal player who made the squad while ex-Gunner Flamini (I don’t much like the sound of that) has been selected as well.
That’s about it for today. Before I go I want to wish LasagneChef at The Cannon a very happy 2nd birthday. He runs a very nice little Arsenal blog and if you’ve never checked it out you can do so here. Cheers mate!
Have your say on the transfer speculation and Clichy’s exclusion from Euro 2008 by leaving a comment.